Just a few of my beloved Breyer horses. Photo by Justine.

Just a few of my beloved Breyer horses. Photo by Justine.

I’ve been a Breyer horse owner and collector for most of my life. My obsession with horses spanned from riding to studying  about them to collecting Breyers since I was just a kid taking lessons on fat ponies with rotten attitudes.

I haven’t touched or played with my Breyers in years. They stood in the same spots in the same stalls of their miniature wooden barns, forever frozen in time and collecting dust. But there was something about seeing them in the bedroom I grew up in every time I came home to visit that made me feel nostalgic. It was the Breyers that really made the room feel like my room.

I got a call from my parents a few weeks ago while I was driving home from the barn, a sweaty, soaking and muddy mess after an August evening ride in the light rain in Florida.  Yuck.

My parents, who only live about an hour north of me, were considering putting their home – the one I grew up in – on the market. I wasn’t surprised to hear this at the time. Both my younger brother and I had been out of the house for a few years now. There was no need for my parents, who have plans to move to their beach condo and retire, to hang on to the giant two-story home on a couple of acres anymore. So good for them.

My mother had slowly been going through my things in my old room, packing boxes of faded horse show ribbons and dusty trophies and medallions into boxes. She had donated my old clothes and given away the majority of my stuffed animal and beanie baby collections. I  didn’t mind. But she wasn’t sure if I wanted to hold on to my Breyer horses, which at 30 unique models, three wooden barns and a dozen or so wooden jumps, pasture fences and stable accessories, took up an enormous chunk of my room.

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These guys needed a  new little girl to love them.

The next time I came home I started going through them. I smiled as I held Cigar close,the first model I ever purchased, who was nicked and scratched from too many trips to explore the front yard and beating Roy Roger’s Trigger in races over my many jumps. Or the half dozen black and white paints, ranging in breeds from saddlebreds to gypsy vanners, which I got for Christmas and birthdays following the purchase of Tuffy, my childhood mount, a black & white tobiano warmblood gelding by Art Deco who I adored more than anything else.

Even though a part of me knew it would be painful to part with them, I had no reason to keep the Breyer horses anymore. So I packed them up in boxes and carted them back to my house knowing it was time to take some photos and post them online to sell. Many of the models were more than 20 years old and selling for a good chunk of change on eBay. I didn’t want to be hassled with shipping or bidding, and I guess I wasn’t in a real rush to get rid of them anyway, so I posted an ad on Craigslist.

A few collectors inquired, wanting to know more about their condition and the years they were made. But no one made the effort to come out and see them in person, until one local woman called interested in purchasing the horses for her daughter.  After exchanging photos and addresses, the woman warned me that her daughter had saved up $150 and would likely only be able to purchase two or three models. We set up a time and eventually they met me at my house, the week before school was starting.

Nori was the girl’s name. She was tall and lanky, and had her long dark hair pulled back into a messy pony tail. She was nervous to talk to a stranger, so she hid behind her mom and let her do all the talking. Her mother told me she was new to the world of horses, and had recently started taking lessons at a local hunter/jumper farm. She had just a handful of Breyer horses at home, which she cherished more than any other toys.

I brought them into the room where the Breyers were, and Nori’s face immediately lit up. She looked to me for permission before picking them up. One by one, she inspected them, holding them close with a big smile on her face. Her mom asked her which ones she liked the most.

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The Barn

She couldn’t make a decision.

Nori reminded me of myself at that age. I can still recall how exciting it was to get a new Breyer horse. I remember what it felt like to introduce that horse into the herd of others back in my room. I would give them the same qualities and personalities of horses I knew in real life. Like Cigar, who was nervous but very fast like the thoroughbred gelding Max, whom the older girls at the barn got to ride in lessons.

In the end, Nori took home my entire herd and I graciously accepted her hard earned cash. It didn’t matter to me that I could probably have gotten more than triple that amount for all of them. I knew the horses that I had adored so much over the years were going to be in good hands with a young girl who would love them all over again.

Justine
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